Robyn Cherry, math and science teacher at Columbia Middle School, received the Outstanding Educator Award by Acknowledge Alliance on May 7, 2015. Jean Hamilton, LMFT, Resilience Consultant with Acknowledge Alliance at Columbia Middle School, wrote the insert in the program for Robyn that evening and has allowed us to share the wonderful comments from some of the people that know her best.
Robyn’s words in the program that evening-
On top of the already difficult social and emotional changes middle school brings, so many of our students are struggling with stressors outside of school that I can’t even imagine having to deal with. Dispirte these circumstances, they still show up to school. That’s my inspiration. They show up to school, so I have the opportunity to help them build their character.
I can teach them compassion and empathy – to always treat others with kindness because you never know what they’re going through. I have the opportunity to teach my students coping mechanisms and how to be resilient, how to perservere through tough times, how to make difficult choices, and how to be a good friend. Because I take advantage of this opportunity, I think students feel safe, supported, and confident, and often sometimes just happy in my classroom.
This is what has inspired me everyday of my past 9 years of teaching. We can’t get students to understand how to divide fractions or explain the theory of Continental Drift when they are worried, anxious, angry, or depressed. When we teach the “whole child” they feel taken care of, which means we can get to focusing on that math and science.
Special words in the program from Jean Hamilton –
If you think back on your school days, I’m sure you all remember one teacher (hopefully more than one) who was your favorite or who stood out as special because of who she or he was as a person and because of the relationship he or she had with you and with your classmates.
Robyn is one of those teachers and it is a privilege to honor her today for her commitment to young people, their learning experience and their growth.
Since our mission at Acknowledge Alliance is centered on building relationships, I want to share some comments from people Robyn works with every day at school.
Here’s some of what her principal, Mary Beth Allman, had to say about her:
“If I’m ‘stuck’ in my office, I can go into Robyn’s class and it turns my day around. She’s the perfect example of showing how creating a really strong socially-emotionally sound or supportive classroom links to academic performance. She creates a safe space, a community where the students know she cares about them and where they can ask questions, support each other…and where everybody’s learning.”
Robyn’s partner in Columbia’s collaboration with Stanford University’s Partnership Program (UPP), Jessica Salazar Adams, had this to say about working with Robyn:
“I feel entirely blessed to have been given the opportunity to work so closely with Ms. Cherry this year. When I started teaching at Columbia Middle School 4 years ago, Ms. Cherry did not hesitate to welcome me with open arms. Over the years, I’ve grown to know just how sweet and compassionate she is and the student’s adoration towards her serves as a true testament to her making a difference in their lives.”
It’s clear that Robyn makes a difference with everyone she comes in contact with, especially the 11, 12, and 13 year olds who are lucky to have her as their teacher, their families who she reaches out to and connects with, and the staff who experience her caring, calm, and, I would add, loving presence and spirit.
Congratulations Robyn! Well done!